Russell Westbrook said it had no deeper meaning. Kevin Durant said he doesn’t care one way or another.
But I was perplexed by Westbrook wearing a photographer’s vest to last night’s Warriors-Thunder game. I appreciated Westbrook attempting to ramp up the feud, but the method seemed uncharacteristically lame for Westbrook.
Apparently, I missed the layers behind the outfit.
First, some background.
1. Westbrook has subtly and not–so–subtly taken jabs at Durant since Durant left Oklahoma City. But even the not-so-subtle jabs were far from overt.
2. Golden State players recruited Durant throughout last season.
3. Durant and Stephen Curry attended the Super Bowl, Durant as a photographer for The Players Tribune.
Royce Young of ESPN:
Westbrook specializes in clever subtlety, and directly mocking Durant’s photography isn’t really his style. What’s more likely, as suggested by someone with insight into his thinking, is it was a nod to Durant’s post on the Players’ Tribune in which he took pictures at Super Bowl 50 last February. After playing the Warriors on a Saturday night, Durant stayed over in the Bay Area to attend the Super Bowl that Sunday and spent time with some Warriors players, which is when some believe the official recruitment process began.
Oooo. That’s much juicier. I can get behind that.
The Jazz built a deep and talented roster.
That depth is getting tested early.
Gordon Hayward is out. Derrick Favors is on a minutes limit. And now Boris Diaw is sidelined a couple weeks.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Jazz PF/C Boris Diaw is likely to miss two weeks with a right leg contusion, a source said.
Diaw struggled in three games this season, and Utah has won twice, including beating the Spurs, since he went down. The Jazz will be fine leaning more on Trey Lyles.
But they could use a healthy Diaw at some point. Diaw is a talented playmaking big man, and no other Utah big can match those skills.
Russell Westbrook arrived for last night’s Warriors-Thunder game dressed as a photographer.
That photography is a hobby of Kevin Durant is merely coincidence, according to Westbrook – a wholly unbelievable claim.
But one person who won’t call Westbrook on that: Durant.
Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:
“I don’t care about what nobody wear to the game. Who gives a s—. I don’t care what he wore.”
I’m unconvinced Durant doesn’t care. It was clearly intended as a dig at him.
But I have no idea how he’d feel about it.
Pointing out that he enjoys photography isn’t exactly an insult, but considering the source, Westbrook sure isn’t celebrating Durant’s interest, either. It’s just another statement of fact.
You were born in 1988. You have an older brother. You enjoy photography.
It sure looked like Jerami Grant escalated tensions by starting down Kevin Durant. And it sure looked like Enes Kanter instigated his back-and-forth with Durant.
But what’s Russell Westbrook‘s spin on it?
You know, it happens. You know, the Warriors were doing a lot of trash-talking. Apparently, I guess, they talk a lot of trash now. We’ll see how that goes.
We’ll see them again.
We saw one game, and it went pretty well for the Warriors. And I don’t think a trash-talking is new for a team featuring Draymond Green. Golden State seems pretty comfortable playing this way.
Remember the good ole days when Westbrook and Durant connected over their dislike of trash talk?
Jerami Grant challenged Kevin Durant.
That was already going poorly for the Thunder by the time Enes Kanter egged on Durant further. Even Steven Adams saw just how bad idea Kanter’s trash talk was, trying to get his teammate to stop.
He was talking to me, but how many minutes did he play? Three minutes. I’m trying to focus on whoever is on the court. He’s trying to talk to me from the sideline, you know? But I’m sure he’s going to put something on Twitter tonight.
Durant’s retort landed.
Kanter has fully backed Russell Westbrook, and to Kanter, that includes besmirching Durant on Twitter.
From insinuating Durant betrayed Oklahoma City:
To using Durant’s photo in The Players Tribune to exalt Westbrook:
To piggy-backing on a cupcake sneak diss that the Thunder used before Kanter arrived in Oklahoma City:
Kanter is jockeying for attention, and beefing with the famous and infamous Durant might be Kanter’s best path for it. But, as Durant pointed out, this feud is extremely lopsided on the court. And by predicting Kanter will reply on Twitter, that leaves Kanter either proving Durant right, just staying quiet or raising the stakes with real words – and, again, we saw how that went last night.
I think Durant would be happy with any outcome.